Extra Points: OSU vs. Toledo

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The college football teams in Ohio are like brothers ... assuming those brothers are Cain and Abel.

Players from all corners of the state - competing for schools like Cincinnati, OU, Akron and Bowling Green - are acutely aware that they play in the shadow of the Buckeyes. And with the University of Toledo set to host OSU in Cleveland on Saturday, the intrastate family drama will once again play out on the field.

The last time an Ohio team triumphed over Ohio State was clear back in 1921, when Oberlin beat the Buckeyes 7-6.

The last time an Ohio team managed to tie the Buckeyes was in 1924, when George Gershwin was composing hits, J. Edgar Hoover was just taking over at the FBI and Wooster was enough of a force to play OSU to a 7-7 draw.

The bottom line is that the Scarlet and Gray has earned its position as the state's premier program.

That doesn't make it sting any less when Toledo Rockets players are reminded that they don't play for The Ohio State University.

They don't play at Ohio Stadium. They get a fraction of the media attention the Buckeyes do. They are never considered for major college football awards. They have eight players in the NFL, while OSU has more than five times that number.

Their only consolation is that Toledo has a former Ohio State assistant, Tim Beckman, as their coach, and both programs have a recent record of success against Michigan.

Actually, the Michigan angle adds yet another dimension to this matchup. Toledo is sort of Ohio's version of the Mason-Dixon line, a border that divides two very different cultures. You can call it the Tressel-Rodriguez line.

North of this divide, fans pull for Michigan and their coach Rich Rodriguez. To the south, fans cheer for coach Jim Tressel and O-H-I-O. The city of Toledo is where these cultures collide.

The rift actually dates back to the early 1800s, when the militias of Ohio and Michigan went to war over the area. (There's no truth to the rumor that the loser of the battle was the one awarded the city of Toledo. Although, Michigan received recognition of its statehood in exchange for giving up its claims to the region, so maybe Ohio was the loser after all.)

The unique rivalry is reflected in the fact that the Toledo Blade has special sections on its website for both the Buckeyes and the Wolverines. Rockets players are hoping they're the ones to capture headlines on Saturday.

There's no doubt about it: Toledo will be trying hard to turn the Buckeye State into Rockets territory.

OSU Fast Fact


Ohio State's record against teams from Ohio

Huddle Up

Toledo has already beaten a BCS opponent this season. The Rockets knocked off Colorado last week, 54-38, with rocket-armed UT quarterback Aaron Opelt throwing for 319 yards and four touchdowns.

Knocking him off his game will be a key for the Buckeyes on Saturday. Also important for OSU will be shaking off last week's heartbreaking 18-15 loss to USC.

But what would be really nice is for OSU's offense to get going. They are ranked 92nd nationally in total offense, 81st in rushing yards per game and 74th in passing. Now is the time for the Buckeye offense to work on their game, while their games are still against non-conference opponents.

What: Ohio State vs. Toledo

When: 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19

Where: Cleveland Browns Stadium, Cleveland


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